In order to help preserve each users bill of rights, and in order to provide each user with a clear idea of what he or she is signing, each contract terms of service reviewed on this site is given a rating, from 0 - 100, with 100 being the most fair.
Each agreement is first rated on a 0 - 50 scale, using the following criteria from our online user bill of rights.
This initial bill of rights (explained in depth on the bill of rights page) provides an initial potential total of 50 points based on the contract itself.
An additional 50 points are granted as follows based on all prior related versions of that Terms of Service agreement:
Have previous iterations of this Terms of Service been fair over its lifetime? If there have been no previous iterations, this score is based on the rating of the first version reviewed, excluding the historical fairness score. Otherwise, if there are multiple versions of the same terms of service, an average of them all is used (excluding the historical fairness scores). We often will seek out prior versions of your terms of service and add them to your rating to provide a more accurate historical rating. Those companies that do not clearly show prior versions on their website may see a drop in the 'right to reasonable terms' section.
Have users had good experiences with this product's or service's terms of service over the last 5 years? This score starts at 10, and thereafter, an average of all user reviews is used.
Has the company had very few consumer initiated lawsuits or arbitrations over the last 5 years arising out of this or prior iterations of this terms of service? The fewer legal issues that arrive in courts or in arbitration halls, the higher this number will be. This score starts at 10, and drops as each court or arbitration battle is documented. Note: if the TOS prohibits users from publicly talking to the press about any lawsuits or arbitration, we will assume that at least 5 lawsuits or arbitration events have occurred, and will deduct 5 points automatically, even if it's a new TOS.
Does the company place its TOS Rating Score prominently and publicly on the homepage itself? Does it also place its TOS Rating Score prominently on the actual Terms of Service signature page (ideally, directly next to the 'clickbox')? Is each listing clickable to that company's terms of service rating page for that terms of service on our website? It should read, at minimum: "TOS Fairness Rating: #/100" (with # replaced by the score and 'Read more' linking to our website's rating page for that company). Is it clearly listed on any mobile app? For now, a company's initial score will automatically include the 20 points, and if the company does not add the score within 10 days of being reviewed, and then 20 days, and/or fails to let us know that the score has been properly added, points will be removed from the score and updated on our website accordingly. It is the company's responsibility to check back frequently to see if the score has changed significantly, and to inform us when the score and links have been placed properly: email@example.com.
Together, this all comes to 100 points. The higher the score, the more fair the agreement. In general, a score of 90 or above is "Excellent"; 80 or above is considered "Reasonable"; 70 or above is considered "Be Cautious"; Below 70 is considered "Read Carefully Before Signing" and anything below 25 should probably be avoided at all costs, or USE AT YOUR OWN RISK BECAUSE YOU HAVE GIVEN UP NEARLY ALL OF YOUR RIGHTS IF YOU USE THAT SERVICE!
Companies that follow and adhere to the bill of rights, and treat customers fairly and with respect, will come closest to earning the coveted, but rarely earned, 100.
Each day, the top ten fair online contracts and top ten unfair online contracts will be publicly displayed on the TOSFairness.org homepage--as both a badge of honor to those who are at the top, and an embarrassing outing of those companies who disrespect their customers who are rated at the bottom.
As a courtesy, TOSfairness will make a reasonable effort to contact any company that is reviewed on the website (via email, if an email address is easily listed on the company terms of service or website) to inform the company that their website and/or app has been reviewed on TOSfairness. We do this in order to give that company an opportunity to review its rating, and should the company so desire, to use our bill of rights, score, and suggestions for improvement to improve the terms for the next version of the agreement.
NOTE ABOUT GDPR (Global Data Protection Regulation of the European Union - Effective 5/25/2018) - Although the GDPR regulations are an important regulation, we chose at this time not to include GDPR compliance as a factor in our bill of rights and ratings, even though many of its requirements echo some of our ideals. Why? First, it's unclear how implementation of GDPR will roll out and both large and small companies are still trying to determine precisely what is required. Second, our bill of rights is based on overarching general common sense principles, and not any country's particular laws. In the future, if we feel that certain provisions of the GDPR should be formally incorporated into our bill of rights and rating system, we shall update them accordingly. Therefore, at this time, we are not using GDPR compliance as a factor in our ratings.